Being Northern I get a lot of stick for my dialect down in London. I have breakfast, dinner and tea as my three meals (this has caused some confusion in the past around what time a friend has been expected for dinner), a ‘pot’ is something you get put on your broken bone as well as things you wash up, to take a short cut between houses you go down a snicket, I have chip butties in baps, and I never, ever call a bun anything other than a bun.

This once caused a great debate in my office before I left for parenthood. I declared I was craving chocolate buns and no one had the faintest clue what I was on about. I was told that this was a very specific Northern term and they should be called cakes, fairy cakes to be exact, cupcakes if you were born in America or post 1980’s but not a bun.

My wedding cake was a tower of buns, this was at a time before it became fashionable to have a bun wedding cake. The baker told me in no uncertain terms that should I bring my haughty London ways back to Bradford with me and even suggest this is a fairy cake-cake, muffin-cake or cupcake-cake then she would refuse to bake the thing entirely. These are buns and they always will be. Such is the strength of feeling towards the term where I come from.

So imagine my glee when I turn to some of the recipes in my go-to vegan mum and baby book and I see this:

This comes from the indispensible Rose Elliot’s  Mother, Baby and Toddler book. Aside from its use of the word ‘bun’, this was the only down-to-earth book I returned to during the whole ‘new mum’ phase. It was the only book that explained about constant feeding and what to do if you had a very hungry boy, (get a mountain of sandwiches, tanks of water and a big pile of magazines).

It doesn’t give you a day-by-day outline of what to expect but explains what you actually need to know in a quick, concise manner. Focussing on the important stuff, like how to breastfeed, when to expect growth spurts and teeth, games to play and how to still feel human.

I found that other books spent chapters explaining in intricate detail about what the standard baby will be doing now. I had no time to read all that. What I wanted to know was if I pop this dummy in my child’s mouth will the world still turn and I get sleep tonight? And it gave an honest, reliable answer. Plain-speaking with great recipes in the back that I have alarmingly only just discovered. I have no idea if Rose Elliot is Northern but her straight forward style for starting a family is just as wonderful as all her other books (of which I own many).

My husband bought me this book to combat some of the concerns other people were having about my veganism and pregnancy when they found out that I still intended to stay vegan throughout. Knowing full well I had a healthy diet, I simply ignored all the arguments that I should have fish or some red meat.  My blood tests always supported my beliefs and my lovely son has now conquered any left over idea that somehow a vegan diet is not a healthy diet all of the time.

I have passed on many of the books that I was kindly given during pregnancy, finding my own instinct to be just fine and not reading them helped more. I sent off Ina May to a friend who just had a successful home birth. Yet, the Rose Elliot book I still refer to from time to time and am keeping it just in case accidents happen. Besides, I need to know how long to leave those buns in the oven.


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